Vehicle import permits for 900 expatriate workers

Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara told Parliament today that a total of 900 Electric Vehicle import licenses have been issued to Sri Lankans who have sent remittances to Sri Lanka through legal channels, and USD 100 million has been received for importing vehicles.
Although the President has been informed to extend the time given to issue the letters of credit related import of these vehicles on three occasions, some officials in the Ministry of Finance have not taken the necessary steps in this regard.
However, the Minister said that there has been some hindrance in the issuance of letters of credit for importing electric vehicles introduced to Sri Lankan migrant workers who remit money through legal channels.

The Minister emphasized that even though the President and the Cabinet have taken all the decisions in this regard, the relevant officials have not yet provided support to make this a success.
The Minister also said that due to the several activities of the officers of the Treasury, a procedure to extend the issuance of letters of credit has been hindered.
Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said this while joining the debate related to the expenditure head of the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment.

“During the time of former Presidents Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa, there was the same group of officials in the Treasury. There are officers who have been in the Treasury for many years. In fact, these are the same people who were there at a time when the economy collapsed. They are still taking time to extend the date of opening the letters of credit related to importing electric vehicles, especially as they block the benefits to be given to the people who have brought millions of dollars to the country at the time of need. We don’t know what their political agendas are. The President and all of us should pay attention to this matter” he added.

He went onto say that attention should also be paid on how to move the country forward with officials like this.
“The Cabinet approved tax concessions according to the amount of foreign remittances sent by expatriate workers. It was also decided to give more tax concessions for migrant workers who sent more foreign remittances. But even though the cabinet has approved these and the cabinet gazette, has published, the Customs has still been unable to give this tax relief to the migrant workers” he exlained.

An affidavit was obtained from every worker leaving Sri Lanka that they would send remittances according to the law. That is how we managed to bring foreign exchange into the country. In addition, even the commission received by foreign employment agencies should be brought through banks. Even investigations were conducted in this regard. What we need to do is to explain the real situation in the country and start doing our own work and start making this change. In this budget too, we have started to make that change.

The leader of the Opposition said about the injustice done to Muslims. We were against it even then. Even Though we were in the opposition, we were against it. Even if we are in the ruling Party today, we condemn the harm done to the Muslim people in accordance with our conscience. It will continue to be the same. We are working to create laws to prevent such things from happening again.
He went onto say that Japanese job opportunities in the civil Aviation sector will be opened for Sri Lankan’s from next March

He added that 2850 migrant labour committees have been formed in the villages to expedite matters related to migrant workers at the village level.

The Minister also emphasized that despite numerous warnings people still get caught in foreign employment rackets and offering of job opportunities on visit Visa’s by fraudulent individuals and organizations.

Minister Nanayakkara also told Parliament that the Labour Act will be changed so that 30 percent of the employees’ provident fund can be taken for any need of the country.

He also emphasized that by 2025, Sri Lanka will be a child labour free country

The Minister said dignity for labor will be ensured through the ‘Garu Saru’ programme and a public-private partnership approach will be initiated prevent Human Trafficking and illegal methods of remittances

The Minister also stressed that affairs at the SLBFE will be fully digitized to enhance transparency and prevent illegal activities related to foreign employment.

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